Waking up to grey skies and showers is not the ideal starter to a day on tour. But game on! We packed up, stores were grabbed from the supermarket, and with breakfasts and lunches in the van the pie crumbs flew. We drove to Gulf Harbour and got ready for the ferry to arrive, and then once it was there jumped aboard for the short ride to Tiritiri Matangi. There was a little swell as we crossed the channel, but not a lot of birds except for a group of fluttering shearwaters that flew past.
Getting off the ferry we heard saddleback calling us towards the forest. We had our briefing from the local ranger, and then headed off up the trail. There was lots of bird song around, as there always is on this magical place. Saddleback, whitehead, red-crowned parakeet, bellbird, tui…lots of stuff happening. Just up the trail we caught snippets of kokako song. We hesitated, hoping they would come closer. But no luck, so after a while we moved on up the trail. Not too far and we had a North Island robin at close range – of course – and then heard another kokako. We waited, and after a little searching had a female that appeared to be collecting nesting material. She then disappeared into the crook in a cabbage tree right in front of us and added to her nest! Amazing! The male was nearby singing, so we zeroed in on him and got great views of him as well.
Carrying on up the trail we spent time with a New Zealand pigeon, and a few other feathered friends along the way. Lunch at the bunkhouse, and then a little rest, before we headed out to see Takahe – and we managed to find a pair with two small chicks. Right by the Bunkhouse!! We spent some time photographing them, and then a little wandering, resting, and an easy late afternoon.
Wine and cheese for starters and then BBQ lamb and steak for dinner, with new potatoes and salad! Heading out afterwards we had awesome views of one morepork and saw three others. We heard a few kiwi, none really close, and then the rain started. Damn! Looking for kiwi in the rain is not something that normally ends well…we gave it a damn good go, but not our night! Back to the bunkhouse for bed!
|Mum, Dad and the kid|
|Young takahe chick, cute but ugly at the same time|
|Rangitoto in amazing skies|
|The skyline of Auckland from a distance with crazy skies|
|A tui peers out of the shrubbery|
|New Zealand pigeon all plump and puffed up|